Fictorum is the kind of game that’s fun for about an hour. The very first time you hurl a fireball at a house and watch it explode into a dozen chunky pieces brings out the inner child who laughs with glee at such wanton destruction. Once that initial thrill is gone, though, it becomes very clear that Fictorum is in need of a lot of work.
Y’know, reviewing Community Inc. has proved harder than I first imagined. Every time I find a problem or issue or little niggle the developers are already promising to fix it in the next patch, or indeed already have fixed it by the time this review is ready to go, leaving me to once again sigh and edit the damn thing. Of course, this is to the developer’s credit; they’re incredibly active on the Steam forums and have been taking on board all the various bits of feedback. People mentioned, for example, that they didn’t like how farmers wouldn’t collect crops without being manually told to do so and the developers quickly added that to the list of upcoming changes. EDIT: Wait, they’ve actually changed it in an update as I wrote this.
I’m not sure what has sparked this resurgence of point and click adventure games other than the very real nostalgia fad that companies are cashing in on like mad, but as someone who grew up playing the genre I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, even one I found in my bed after a Saturday night bender. Sure, it amuses me that we’ve somehow reverted back to using pixellated graphics and text-only stories despite spending so much time and effort getting away from them, but when it’s as enjoyable as The Darkside Detective it’s kind of hard to care.
My love of sci-fi mingles with my enjoyment of ruining people’s lives through ineffectual planning and general stupidity in Aven Colony, which takes the joys of constructing a city and then throws a thin science fiction theme at it in the vague hopes it’ll stick. Coming from a small team of just five people I wanted to be very clear about my feelings before we even jump in; it’s a good game, and such a small team should be damn proud to have built it from the ground up. They’ve got a bloody good future ahead of them.
Y’know, I’ve killed many people. I’ve also killed many people in videogames, and while I’ve certainly had to spend some time hiding the corpses from the eyes of roving guards I don’t ever remember patiently hoovering up the blood and pocketing any potential evidence I left lying around. Even the bald-headed Aget 47 was never that finicky. Yet that’s what you’ll be doing in Serial Cleaner, a game that casts you as a man who makes his living going to crime scenes in order to grab all the bodies, clean up most of the blood and then scarper with any leftover evidence such as guns or other nonsense, all while the cops patrol the area.
Initially, Aporia seems to fit into the walking-simulator genre, a game based primarily around the exploration of a fallen civilisation, but it doesn’t take long before you’re solving puzzles and even dealing with an enemy that floats around like the much angrier version of Casper the Friendly Ghost. This is fast becoming a popular genre, and it’s fair to say that Aporia doesn’t buck any trends in terms of its design. However, the journey through the valley may very well be worth your time.
Ah, zombies. When in doubt zombies are the answer to a developer’s lack of creativity. Whenever you can’t come up with something unique or even just a fun spin on the standard zombie theme you can simply pile a bunch of generic shamblers into a level, give the player a gun and call it a day. That honestly feels like what happened to Microlith Games , the developers of Dead Purge: Outbreak.